The Anonymous Widower

Appliance Of Science To Boost Stevenage

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article in The Times.

These two paragraphs introduce the article.

Planning permission has been granted for a former TK Maxx outlet and two other stores in the middle of Stevenage to be knocked down and replaced with laboratories.

The £500 million development, funded by UBS Asset Management and designed by Reef Group, is the latest example of how Britain’s town centres can be adapted and brought up to date.


  1. We have a laboratory shortage in the UK, which is especially serious in Oxford and Cambridge.
  2. Canary Wharf is also turning offices into laboratory space.
  3. There was even an article in The Times yesterday about converting offices to laboratories in Harley Street.

It’s probably a sign of success!

If Stevenage is to become a worldwide centre for life sciences and medical research, it probably needs the town’s excellent rail links to London and Cambridge to be further improved.

  • LNER runs two fast trains per hour (tph) to and from London King’s Cross.
  • Other fast services call during the day.
  • Local services include two tph to Cambridge, London and Peterborough.

Services need to be improved, especially to and from Cambridge.

ERTMS Is Being Installed Through Stevenage

Installation of full digital signalling on the East Coast Main Line could have various effects.

  • LNER and other fast services could be faster to places like Doncaster, Leeds and York.
  • Fast Cambridge, Ely and King’s Lynn services would have to be run by 125 mph trains to keep out of the way of the expresses.
  • 125 mph services to Cambridge would reduce journey times by a few minutes and might allow the Cambridge Cruisers to sneak in a stop at Stevenage, whilst maintaining the current times.
  • Will the Thameslink Class 700 trains have to stick to the slow lines?
  • As the Hertford Loop Line will also be digitally signalled, it might be possible to divert some trains via Hertford North.

There will be a lot of hard thinking going on to find out the best way to run services on the Southern section of the East Coast Main Line.

High Speed Norfolk

I like the concept of running high speed trains to Ely, Norwich and Kings Lynn.

  • It would open up a lot of West Norfolk for laboratory space and commuter towns for Cambridge.
  • The Breckland line between Ely and Norwich would be improved for higher speeds. It could even become a 125 mph line.
  • High Speed Norfolk trains would have a frequency of two tph and call at Stevenage, Cambridge South, Cambridge, Cambridge North and Ely before alternatively going on to Norwich and King’s Lynn.
  • Cambridge and Norwich services would alternate with the Norwich and Stansted Airport service.

Norwich could be the overspill city that Cambridge needs.


February 27, 2023 - Posted by | Health, Transport/Travel, World | , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. That part of Hertfordshire has long been a hub for “big pharma”, spearheaded in Stevenage by Glaxo (as was, name changed multiple times since) with various others spread out between Stevenage and Welwyn Garden City (likely attracted by the ICI speciality chemical plant that used to be in WGC).

    But there have been changes: some exits and restructuring in WGC; the ICI plant was redeveloped to become an office park (Shire Park), originally anchored by Roche (laboratories) with Merck next door, and midrange computer maker Digital. Over the years Digital fell by the wayside with Tesco taking over their space to become the anchor tenant, and then gradually taking over much of the space in the “campus”, kicking out Merck. (Roche remains.) The final shift was the end of lease of the former ICI social club (renamed the Shire Park Club and opened to all comers), which was demolished and became a training building/meeting space for Tesco with a Tesco Express to serve onsite shopping needs (nothing else especially close, and WGC centre 10 10 minute walk away with a large Sainsbury and a Waitrose but no big Tesco)

    Comment by MilesT | February 28, 2023 | Reply

  2. Also from Cambridge to Newmarket and Bury St.Edmunds etc.Could be a catalyst along with East-West rail to redouble line from Newmarket and Cambridge and also an East to North curve at Haughley junction for an alternative route from Cambridge to Norwich.

    Comment by Hugh Steavenson | February 28, 2023 | Reply

    • The East-West Railway is planning to double the line between Newmarket and Cambridge.

      Comment by AnonW | February 28, 2023 | Reply

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